Makes 4 servings
Miso has such a magical, enlivening taste. This soup, made with the simplest stock (dashi) and seasonal ingredients, is a refreshing purifier for the spring.
Prepare the Dashi
Dashi is best served the day it’s made, so only make what you’ll consume. If you have leftovers, keep it in the fridge for a few days, or turn it into a dipping sauce (e.g. tsuyu or tsukejiru [best when aging the dashi for a few days]).
- 4 1/4 cups cold water + 1/4 cup cold water
- 30 g. konbu (giant kelp; about 6 4-inch strips)
- 30 g. katsuobushi (shaved bonito flakes; about 3 handfuls)
In a small stock pot, combine the cold water and konbu. Heat the water over medium/medium-high heat, so that in about 10 minutes it comes to a boil. Remove the konbu and reserve for another use. Do not boil the konbu as the taste will change and become too intense.
Bring the konbu stock to a boil, add 1/4 cup cold water to prevent boiling, then stir in the bonito flakes, and bring to a boil again. Immediately remove from heat. As the flakes fall, let the dashi sit 2-3 minutes. Skim off any foam. Strain out the bonito, reserving for later use.
(You can make a second batch of dashi, to be paired with more intensely flavored things like soy sauce, sake or vinegar, or you could use the bonito flakes separately for something else, and the konbu you can keep for another stock.)
Arranging the Soup
- 120 grams firm tofu, chopped into 1/3-inch cubes (about 1-1/2 cup)
- 10 grams dried morel mushrooms (or shiitake) (about 2/3 cup)
- 4 grams wakame (about 1 Tbsp)
- 3-1/2 – 4 Tbsp. miso (red; if using white, use a bit more)
- 3 grams green onion, sliced on the bias
I used the morels because they grow wildly where I live. Plus they have been sitting in my cupboard since last spring, awaiting use. You could equally use dried shiitakes or another mushroom. If using fresh, adjust quantity to your taste. And, by the way, adjust every quantity to your taste. I like my miso soup brothy yet substantial, hence the heftier amounts.
Return the dashi to the stock pot. Drop in the dried mushrooms and tofu. Bring to a bare-boil, so that bubbles form at the bottom. Meanwhile, mix a bit of the warm dashi with the miso. Never add miso straight to the soup. Mixing prevents clumping.
After about 10 minutes of the ingredients warming in the dashi, add the wakame. Keep the temperature barely below boil. Steam should be rising from the whole surface. Once the wakame has bloomed, stir in the miso. Remove from heat and serve immediately in a tiny bowl with green onion. The steam should not cease as it ought to be eaten quite hot.
And, please, slurp loudly.